Recent discussions between Nigerian government officials and their South Korean counterparts have centred on the revision of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) focused on investments in the solid minerals sector.
These talks took place within the framework of the 7th Korea-Africa Economic Co-operation Conference held in Busan, South Korea.
Representing Nigeria were officials from the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and Oando Mining Company, while South Korea was represented by the Korean Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) and the Korean Mines Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation (KOMIR).
The primary objective of these discussions was to revisit a 2006 MOU and incorporate new provisions, particularly in the areas of training for Nigerian mining professionals. The revised MOU will include training in fields such as geochemistry, geophysics, ore modelling and mineral processing, as well as research and exploration of critical minerals like lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite.
The director-general of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba attended the talks on behalf of the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Oladele Alake.
During the discussions, the president of KIGAM, Dr. Pyeong Koo-lee extended an offer of collaboration to Nigeria in the exploration of abundant lithium-bearing pegmatites. He highlighted KIGAM’s advanced technology in lithium ore processing and emphasized that their beneficiation processes could significantly enhance ore grade while reducing carbon emissions.
The vice-president of the state-owned KOMIR, Dr. Alex Kwon expressed a keen interest in overseas mining investments. He noted that KOMIR is ready to provide technical and financial support for exploration and mining activities in the solid minerals sector. Furthermore, Kwon emphasised KOMIR’s willingness to partner with the private sector to invest in the global mining industry.
The deputy director of information at the Ministry of Solid Minerals, Alaba Balogun issued a statement summarizing the talks and highlighting KOMIR’s commitment to collaborating with private sector entities to foster investments in the global mining arena.
As Nigeria and South Korea rekindle discussions on this revised MOU, the potential for increased cooperation in the solid minerals sector, coupled with advanced training opportunities for Nigerian professionals, sets the stage for advancements and partnerships that could benefit both nations economically. These talks underscore the commitment of both countries to strengthen their ties and leverage each other’s strengths for mutual growth and development.